According to the FSS Act 2006, Alcoholic Beverages come under the definition of food and so the FSSAI has framed and notified the Food Safety and Standards (Alcoholic Beverages Standards) Regulation, 2018. These regulations are specifying the standards for the following Alcoholic beverages
- Distilled Alcoholic Beverage (Brandy, Country Liquor, Gin, Rum, Vodka and Whisky, Liquors or Alcoholic cordial)
- These regulations have also specified labeling requirements for Alcoholic Beverages which are in addition to the labeling requirements of Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011. The specific labeling requirements are as follows are a declaration of alcohol content,
- labeling of a standard drink
- not to contain any nutritional information
- no health claim
- restriction on words ‘non-intoxicating’ or words implying similar meaning on a label of beverage containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol by volume
- labeling of wine
- allergen warning
- statutory warning
These regulations came into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette, however, the enforcement against these standards will start from 1st April 2019 and so Food Business Operator shall comply with all the provisions of these regulations by this date.
Part – 1 Preliminary
The standards specified in these regulations shall apply to distilled and un-distilled alcoholic beverages.
- “alcohol by volume (abv)” means ethyl alcohol (ethanol) content in an alcoholic beverage expressed as percent of the total volume
- “alcoholic beverage” means a beverage or liquor or a brew containing more than 0.5 percent abv. The ethanol used in the production of alcoholic beverage shall be of agricultural origin
- “alcohol proof” means 1.75131 times the ethanol content in an alcoholic beverage by volume
- “distilled alcoholic beverage” means a distilled beverage, spirit, or liquor containing ethanol that is made by distilling ethanol produced by fermentation of cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, molasses or any other source of carbohydrates of agricultural origin
- “ethyl alcohol or ethanol” means a transparent, colorless, flammable, volatile liquid miscible with water, ether or chloroform and obtained by the fermentation of carbohydrates with yeast. Ethyl alcohol has the chemical formula C2H5OH, has a burning taste, and causes intoxication on consumption
- “hops” means the female flowers or seed cones or strobiles of the hop plant (Humuluslupulus), or its products used to impart a bitter taste or flavor to the beer
- “methyl alcohol or methanol” means a clear, colorless, flammable liquid having a chemical formula, CH3OH, consumption of which above the specified limits may cause blindness or death
- “neutral spirit or neutral alcohol or neutral grain spirit or pure grain alcohol or extra neutral alcohol (ENA)” means a product obtained by distillation and rectification, with a minimum alcoholic strength of 96 percent. abv, after alcoholic fermentation of cereal grains, fruits, vegetables, molasses or any other source of carbohydrates of agricultural origin
- “pot-still or column distilled spirit” means the product of distillation done either in a pot-still in batches, or in continuous columns
- “psychotropic substance” means substance as defined in the Schedule of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (61 of 1985) and rules made thereunder, and substances listed in Schedule E and E1 of the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945
- “rectified spirit” means spirit purified by distillation to achieve the strength of not less than 95 percent abv
- “un-distilled alcoholic beverage or fermented beverage” means fermented un-distilled alcoholic beverage such as beer, wine, cider, or any other similar products
- “yeast” means a unicellular micro-organism responsible for fermentation of sugars to produce ethanol and carbon dioxide.
- Alcoholic beverages shall be free from chloral hydrate, ammonium chloride, paraldehyde, pyridine, diazepam or narcotic, psychotropic substances including caffeine except for naturally-occurring caffeine.
- The tolerance limit for ethyl alcohol content shall be ± 0.3 percent (± 0.5 in case of wines) for up to 20 percent, and ±1.0 percent for more than 20 percent abv of the declared strength.
- Sugar may be added for rounding off of the alcoholic beverage
- The water used for dilution to bottling strength shall meet the requirements as specified in Indian Standards for Drinking Water, IS 10500 as amended from time to time.
- The alcoholic beverage may contain additives, enzymes and processing aids as permitted under the Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011.
- Any alcoholic beverage when labeled as “matured”, shall be matured for a period of not less than one year in oak or other suitable wood vats or barrels or with wooden chips.
- Where an age claim is made in conjunction with the word “aged”, the age must refer to the youngest spirit in the blend.
- The test methods prescribed in the FSSAI “Manual of Methods of Analysis of Foods-Alcoholic Beverages” as amended from time to time shall be used for analysis.
- Alcoholic beverage shall be packed in suitable containers as specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011: Provided that bulk containers shall have no upper limit for alcohol content, and shall meet the safety parameters of the product standards. Such products shall also carry a label declaring, “For Manufacturer of Alcoholic Beverages only”.
- the alcoholic beverage containing not more than 8.0percent abv may be called as a low alcoholic beverage and shall conform to the requirements of table 1 except for residue on evaporation.
- The words and expressions used but not defined in these regulations shall have the same meaning assigned to them in the Act and the rules made thereunder.
Part 2 – Distilled Alcoholic Beverages
Brandy: is an alcoholic beverage made by distillation of wine. Brandy may be aged or matured to possess aroma and taste characteristic of brandy. Brandy may be of the following types
- Grape brandy shall be an alcoholic distillate obtained solely from the fermented juice of grapes. Distillation shall be carried out to a suitable strength in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and taste characteristics derived from the grapes used and the constituents formed during fermentation. In case of brandy made from any fruit other than grapes, the name of the fruit shall be pre-fixed with the word ‘Brandy’.
- Blended brandy: Blended brandy is a mixture of minimum 2 percent of pure grape brandy with any other fruit or flower brandy or neutral spirit or rectified spirit of agricultural origin. If any other fruit brandy is used for blending, the name of such fruit shall be pre-fixed with the word ‘Brandy’. It shall possess the characteristic aroma and taste of brandy.
The Brandy shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and requirements specified in Table – 1.
Country liquors or spirits are alcoholic beverages obtained from the distillation of fermented carbohydrates of agricultural origin. Country liquors may also be of the following types:
- Plain country liquor: Plain country liquor shall be made from alcoholic distillate obtained from fermented molasses, jaggery (Gur), a mash of cereals, potato, cassava, fruits, juice or sap of coconut and palm trees, mahua flowers or any other carbohydrates of agricultural origin.
- Blended country liquor: Blended country liquor is a blend of an alcoholic distillate, rectified spirit or neutral spirit.
Country liquor shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and requirements specified in Table – 1.
Fenny or Feni: is distilled liquor made from the fermented juice of cashew apple or coconut toddy. Fenny shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and requirements specified in Table – 1.
Gin: is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the neutral spirit of agricultural origin flavored with juniper berries and or other flavoring agents of botanical origin. It shall be clear and shall not develop any turbidity on dilution with water. The gin shall have the characteristic aroma and taste associated with gin. The gin shall conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and requirements specified in Table – 1.
Rum: is an alcoholic distillate obtained from the fermented juice of sugarcane, sugarcane molasses, or any other sugarcane product, and shall not contain any coloring matter other than caramel. It may also be prepared from neutral, rectified, distilled spirit of agricultural origin. Rum without color shall be designated as white rum. Rum shall possess the characteristic taste and aroma associated with the product. Rum shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table-1.
Vodka: is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the neutral spirit obtained from a fermented mash of rye, potato, cassava, grains or any other carbohydrates of agricultural origin. Vodka shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table-1.
Liqueur or Cordial or Aperitifs: is an alcoholic beverage made from the distilled spirit of agricultural origin that is flavored with fruit, cream, herbs, spices, essential oils, and products of botanical origin. It may contain more than 2.5 percent of sucrose, dextrose, laevulose, natural sweeteners (like honey), or a combination thereof. Liqueur or cordials or aperitif shall conform to the general requirements specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table-1.
Whiskey or Whiskey: is an alcoholic beverage made by distilling the fermented extract of malted cereal grains such as corn, rye, barley, or using neutral grain spirit or rectified grain spirit, or neutral spirit of agricultural origin, or their mixture. Whiskey may also be of the following types: ̶
- Malt or grain whiskey: Malt or grain whiskey is a distillate obtained from a fermented mash of malted or unmalted cereals or a mixture of both with characteristic aroma and taste. It may also be of the following types:
- (i) Single malt whiskey: Single malt whiskey is a distillate obtained from a fermented mash that uses one particular malted grain or malted barley, distilled in a pot still only, and produced from a single distillery.
- (ii) Blended malt whiskey or blended grain whiskey: Blended malt or grain whiskey shall be a mixture of at least 2 percent from barley malt or grain whiskey, with neutral or rectified spirit.
Whiskey shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table -1.
Pot-still distilled spirit: is an alcoholic beverage obtained from multiple distillations of fermented molasses, jaggery (Gur), mash of cereals, potato, cassava, fruits (like grape), juice or sap of coconut and palm trees, agave plant, sugarcane juice, cashew apple, mahua flowers, or any other source of fermentable carbohydrates of agriculture origin. Pot-still distilled spirit shall be free from any coloring matter except caramel, or natural color obtained by aging in oak or another suitable wooden barrel, and finishing or infusing with wood chips. Pot-still distilled spirit shall also conform to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and requirements specified in Table – 1.
Part 3 – Wine and other Fermented Beverages
Wine: Save as specifically mentioned in different categories, wine shall be the un-distilled alcoholic beverage produced by the partial or complete alcoholic fermentation of the juice of fresh sound ripe grapes, including grape juice concentrate, restored or unrestored pure condensed grape must, and raisins: Provided that a vintage wine is a wine made from grapes, at least 85 percent of which were grown in a particular year and labelled as such. A season’s yield of wine from a vineyard is a vintage wine. Wine may be of the following types:
- Table wine or grape wine: Table or grape wine may be of the following types.
- Red wine: Red wine shall be made from the grape varieties, red or mixture of red and white. The fermentation shall be carried out along with the grape skin to allow extraction of color and tannins, which contribute to the typical color and flavor of the wine. Wine having pink color produced during fermentation with less contact time with skin may be called as Rose wine and shall conform to the requirement specified for Red wine.
- White wine: White wine shall be prepared by fermentation of white grapes or from juice extracted after removal of the skin of red grapes. Based on sugar content Table wine may be of the following types:
- (i) Dry wine: Dry wine is a wine that contains 0.4 up to 0.9 percent. Sugar
- (ii) Medium dry wine: Medium dry wine is a wine that contains more than 0.9 up to 1.2 percent. sugar.
- (iii) Medium sweet wine: Medium sweet wine is a wine that contains more than 1.2 up to 4.5 percent. sugar.
- (iv) Sweet wine: Sweet wine is a wine that contains more than 4.5 percent. sugar.
Based on carbon dioxide content, wine may be of the following types:
- Semi-sparkling or Crackling: Semi sparkling or Crackling wine has a carbon dioxide content of 3.0 to 5.0g/l or 1.5 to 2.5 bar pressure, at 20 ͦC resulting solely from either the primary or the secondary fermentation of the wine within a closed container, tank or bottle.
- Sparkling: Sparkling wine has a carbon dioxide content of minimum 7.0 g/l or 3.5 bars pressure, at 20 ͦC, resulting solely from either the primary or the secondary fermentation of the wine within a closed container, tank or bottle. Based on the sugar content the sparkling wine may be of the following types:
- (i) Brut: It has sugar content below 1.2 percent.
- (ii) Extra-dry: It contains more than 1.2 up to 1.7 percent sugar with a tolerance of +0.3 percent
- (iii) Dry: It contains more than 1.7 up to 3.2 percent. sugar with a tolerance of +0.3 percent
- Semi-dry: It is a wine which contains more than 3.2 up to 5.0 percent sugar
- Sweet: It contains more than 5.0 percent sugar.
Carbonated wine: is made effervescent with carbon dioxide other than that resulting solely from the secondary fermentation of the wine.
Fortified wine: is a wine with high alcohol content achieved by the addition of alcohol (brandy or wine spirits or neutral spirit of agricultural origin) provided a minimum 7 .0 percent comes from the fermentation of grapes, grape must and fruits and used as an aperitif or dessert wine. Fortified wine may be red or white, dry or sweet.
Aromatized wine is a fortified wine to which alcohol (brandy or wine spirits) and extract of aromatic herbs and or spices are added. The aromatized wines are of the following types:
- Vermouth is a wine having the taste, aroma, and characteristics derived from the addition of extract of herbs and spices, attributed to vermouth, and shall be so designated.
- Bitter aromatized wine: is an aromatized wine with a characteristic bitter taste
- Dessert wine: is generally sweet and fortified with grape brandy.
Wine from fruits other than grapes
Fruit wine is a wine produced from fruit other than grapes. It is produced by the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice of sound, ripe fruit including restored or unrestored pure condensed fruit must. It may be of following types:
- Cider is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from apple juice. It may be soft cider having the alcohol content of more than 0.5 upto5.0 percent, or hard cider having an alcohol content of more than 5.0 up to 9.0 percent
- Perry is a wine prepared from pear juice.
- Other fruit wines: Such wine shall have the name of the fruit prefixed to wine.
Wine from other agricultural and plant sources: may be produced by the normal alcoholic fermentation of the juice or sap of other agricultural and plant sources with or without the addition of sugar or jaggery. It may include the following:
- Palm wine: Palm wine is a wine prepared from the sap of palm trees and coconut palms.
- Bamboo wine: Bamboo wine is a wine prepared from the bamboo sap.
In addition to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table-2, wine shall also conform to the following requirements:
- It shall be clear with characteristic color, taste, bouquet, and form of its type.
- (ii) It shall be preserved by pasteurization or by using preservatives specified in Food Safety and Standards (Food Product and Food Additives) Regulations, 2011 and shall be free from coliforms and pathogenic microorganisms.
- (iii) Water added in the preparation of wine shall not be more than 30 ml per kg of grape or fruit.
- Wine may be ameliorated by adding separately or in combination, dry sugar or jaggery (not more than 20 percent) before, during or after fermentation.
Part-4 – Beer
Beer is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from barley malt or other malted grains, sometimes with added adjuncts like wheat, maize, corn, rice or other cereal crops, and with hops or hop extracts to impart a bitter taste and flavor. Depending upon the ethyl alcohol content, the beer may be classified as under:
- Regular or Mild–Abv more than 0.5 percent up to 5.0 percent.
- Strong – Abv more than 5.0 percent up to 8.0 percent.
Beer may also be of the following types based on the yeast used during fermentation:
- Lager: beer is prepared by using bottom fermenting yeast and matured at low temperature. It can be found in colors from light to dark. Pilsner is a type of lager beer which is light in color and has a medium hop flavor.
- Ale: beer is prepared by using top-fermenting yeast and is usually lighter in color. It is also prepared from pale malt and has a medium body.
- Wheat beer: Wheat beer is brewed with a large proportion of wheat and may also contain a significant proportion of malted barley. Wheat beer is usually top-fermented. Wheat beer is sometimes hazy or cloudy with a touch of spicy notes.
- Stout and porter are dark beers made using roasted malts or roasted barley and typically brewed with slow fermenting yeast.
- Draught beer: is a beer of all types i.e., lager, ale, stout and porter or wheat, and may or may not be pasteurized. It is served from a cask or keg.
4.3 In addition to the general requirement specified in Part 1 and the requirements specified in Table-3, beer shall also conform to the following requirements:
- It shall be clear (except wheat beer) with characteristic color, taste, bouquet, and form of its type. It shall be bottled or canned, and pasteurized or filter sterilized, except draught beer which may or may not is pasteurized or filter sterilized.
- It shall be free from coliforms and other pathogenic microorganisms.
Part–5 – Specific Labelling Requirements for Alcoholic Beverages
In addition to the general labeling provisions, specified in the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) Regulations, 2011, as applicable, every package containing alcoholic beverages shall also provide the following information on the label:-
- Declaration of alcohol content: Alcohol content shall be expressed as a percent. abv or as proof.
- Labeling of standard drink: One standard drink is the amount of beverage that contains in it 12.7 ml of abv as measured at 200C. The label may include a statement of the approximate number of standard drinks in the package.
Note: For example in the case of a bottle of 750 ml beverage containing 8 percent. alcohol, the number of standard drinks, accurate to the first decimal place will be labeled as; “contains approximately 4.8 standard drinks”
- Geographical indicators or names may be used on the label solely for the products originating from that geographical region.
- In case of imported alcoholic beverage, the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulations, 2017, shall apply.
- Alcoholic beverage shall not contain any nutritional information on the label.
- No health claim shall be made on an alcoholic beverage.
- The label of a package of a beverage containing more than 0.5 percent abv shall not use the words ‘non-intoxicating’ or words implying similar meaning.
- Food containing alcohol must not be represented in a form which expressly or by implication suggests that the product is a non-alcoholic confection or non-alcoholic beverage.
Labeling of wine
In addition to requirements mentioned in sub-regulation 5.1 to 5.6, the label on wine shall also
- Indicate the origin (country or state) of wine and declare the amount of sugar
- List the name of a variety of grape or fruit used in descending order of quantity provided such claim is made
- Declare the name of residues of preservatives or additives present as such, or in their modified forms, in the final product.
In addition, the label on wine may:
- Declare generic name of the grape and its variety, or raw material used, geographic origin, and vintage year, provided such claims are made
- Declare the name of the place, or region, sub-region or appellation, if 75 percent of the grapes come from that place
- Carry the name of a grape variety, the wine is made from at least 75 percent from that grape variety
- Carry a date of vintage, if at least 85 percent of the wine comes from that vintage.
- Alcoholic beverage other than wine which contains less than 10 percent alcohol shall mention the date, month and year of expiry on the label, in that order and shall proceed by the words “Expiry date _____” or Use by ______”. However, the manufacturer may use the expression “Best before” as optional or additional information.
- Allergen warning:
- If the wine contains more than 10 mg sulfur dioxide per liter, the label must declare “Contains sulfur dioxide or Contains sulfite”.
- If egg white or using glass as fining, clarifying agent or any other processing aid of animal origin is used in wine, it shall be declared on the label with a non-vegetarian logo, if residues of the same are present in the final product.
There shall be a statutory warning as mentioned below, printed in the English language. In case, respective states with the same to be printed in their local or regional language, the same shall be allowed without the need for repeating the English version. Size of statutory warning shall not be less than 3 mm.
CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL IS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH.
BE SAFE-DONT DRINK AND DRIVE
Table I contains standards for Distilled Alcoholic Beverages
Standards for Wine and other Fermented Beverages
|S.NO||Characteristics||Table or Grape Wine||Wine with carbon
|Fortified wine||Fruit Wine (other
than grape wine)
|Cider||Perry||Wine from other Agricultural
|1.||Ethyl alcohol content at 20°C, % by volume||7.0 to 15.5||7.0 to 15.5||7.0 to 15.5||15.0 to 24.0||7.0 to 15.5||More than 0.5
|More than 0.5
|1.5 to 8.0|
|2.||Residual extract (sugar free) g/l, Max||50.0||50.0||50.0||180.0||50.0||50.0||50.0||50.0|
|3.||Volatile acids as acetic acid g/l, Max||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.2||1.2|
|4.||Higher alcohols expressed as amyl alcohol
(g/l) of absolute alcohol, Max
|5.||Total acids expressed as tartaric (g/l of wine), Max||10.0||10.0||10.0||10.0||10.0||10.0||10.0||10.0|
|6.||Methyl alcohol (mg/l of wine),
|7.||Esters expressed as ethyl acetate
(g/l of absolute alcohol), Max
|8.||Aldehydes expressed as acetaldehyde
(g/ l of absolute alcohol), Max
|9.||Arsenic (mg/l), Max||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25|
|10.||Cadmium (mg/l), Max||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01||0.01|
|11.||Copper (mg/l), Max||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0|
|12.||Iron (as Fe) mg/l, Max||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0|
|13.||Lead (mg/l), Max||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2|
|14.||Ochratoxin A (ug/l), Max||20||20||20||20||20||20||20||20|
Standards for Beer
|S. No||Characteristics||Beer||Draught Beer|
|1.||Ethyl alcohol content at 20° C, percent by volume||More than 0.5 up to 5.0||More than 5.0 up to 8.0||More than 0.5 up to 5.0||More than 5.0 up to 8.0|
|3.||Carbon dioxide, v/v, Min||1.8-3.6||1.8-3.6||1.8-3.6||1.8-3.6|
|4.||Methyl alcohol mg/l, Max||50.0||50.0||50.0||50.0|
|5.||Copper (mg/l), Max||2.0||2.0||2.0||2.0|
|6.||Iron (as Fe) mg/l, Max||5.0||5.0||5.0||5.0|
|7.||Lead (mg/l), Max||0.2||0.2||0.2||0.2|
|8.||Arsenic (mg/l), Max||0.25||0.25||0.25||0.25|
|9.||Cadmium (mg/l), Max||0.1||0.1||0.1||0.1|
|10.||Total plate count, cfu per ml, Max||<10||<10||<100||<100|
|11.||Coliform count, cfu per ml||Absent||Absent||Absent||Absent|
|12.||Yeast, cfu per ml, max||Absent||Absent||40||40|
**This article is a summary and one can refer to the original notification for more details.